Serve first. It’s one of our most important mottos. However, there’s a lot to serve first, so let’s tackle the most obvious first: customer service.
IT has historically poor reputations when it comes to customer service. But they also get failing grades around the way they deliver technology. Technologists tout their reputation of how great their technical skills are but ignore the impact delivering great customer service can have on the enterprise. Engineers ignore the outcomes their customer is wanting and instead deliver overly complex solutions that are FEBE (For Engineers, By Engineers).
Let’s take a modern example of two companies: Company X (a cellular company) and Amazon. Company X has been almost legendary in their quest to deliver poor customer service. Their customer churn numbers (until the last 6 months or so) are usually the highest in the industry. This has impacted their ability to retain current customers, attract new customers, and grow share-of-wallet (i.e., influencing your customers to spend more and more with you). All these factors are reflected in its stock price (which continues to trade sideways).
Amazon, on the opposite end of the customer service spectrum, is rated year after year as one of the best. The organization is still growing exponentially and, in their last quarterly approach, stated they believe they can sustain the growth. Wall Street loves data like that.
In a Forbes article in 2012, Jeff Bezos gave one of his key secrets– he periodically leaves one seat open at a conference table and informs all attendees they should consider that seat occupied by their customer, the most important person in the room.
With 500 measurable goals at Amazon, a full 80% are related to customer service. This was 2012, when the stock price of Amazon ended the month of April at $231.90. Today? It’s trading north of $800 per share. Customer service matters.
But serve first isn’t just about customer service; it’s also about offering the services your customers are asking for. Seems crazy, but IT says, “no,” to their customers far too often, which leads those teams directly into the arms of internal IT’s competitors.
Serve first means saying, ‘”Yes!” We’ll cover this topic in more detail in the coming weeks!